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I'm using an old laptop, that I use for writing, and I would like to set up a backup system for.

It has no WiFi (I don't want WiFi on it. Too many distractions come from the Internet) so backing up to the web isn't an option.

I back up my files semi-regularly to an external drive, but if my hard drive dies in between those backups, I could potentially lose a week's worth of work, if not more.

I'm thinking about sticking a micro SD card into the laptop and having the Windows 7 backup service make daily backups on that.

I know it's not perfect, but it's the best safety net I can think of right now.

If I'm only regularly backing up files that are only kilobytes large, how likely is it, that my SD card would fail?

  • SD cards are usually rated from 10,000 to 100,000 write operations. To use fewer write cycles, you might zip all files daily and save just once. That said, if the probability of your HD failing were 0.1%, and the same for the SD card, the probability of both failing would be only 1/1,000,000 (and I estimated unrealistically high chance of failure), so it certainly seems a reasonable plan. BTW, encrypt the zip if it's sensitive material. – DrMoishe Pippik Aug 25 at 3:06
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in terms of hardware, the SD cards tends to be reliable for the situation you described. Backing up everyday after you finish your work in separated folder days might be a good option, but depending on the kind of work we are talking about, you should highly consider using the internet.

  1. Source code: if the work is software code, consider versioning with git and pushing to a remote repository not only saves you time and energy with backing up but also give you a pretty good way of having visibility of your work. (github, gitlab, bitbucket)
  2. Spreadsheet/Documents/Presentations: many vendors include free to use cloud storage for your work. You will never have to deal with backup + they give you an insane amount of features. (Google, Microsoft)
  3. Images: Same as above, there are many vendors with free storage that you can save your data.
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In theory SSD/SD is more reliable than hard drive, but the reality is often different then the theory. The firmware of SSD/SD is very complex which produces more bugs which sometimes just erase all your data on some special condition such as a sudden power down/hard reboot or even on normal condition.

If you use SSD/SD to backup data: 1. Be sure to use the best product from the best vendor. 2. Backup to hard drive regularly, like every week.

If you never remove your SD card that's another bad thing since both the SD card and the hard drive are on the same machine which may be destroyed together someday.

  • SSD IS more reliable then HDD, SD's are junk. – davidgo Aug 25 at 7:42
  • @davidgo Considering solid state vs mechanical disk, both SSD and SD is more reliable, in fact SD should be more reliable since if often have fewer parts than SSD. SD's are junk maybe because the form factor is too weak--- it is just a multi chip package. After both a TF and SSD failure, I never save data on them, only use SSD to store program and data that can be recreated at any time. – jw_ Aug 25 at 12:56
  • Disagree about SD card reliability -most SD cards dont do wear levelling, are glacially slow, use cheap flash and have primitive controllers. SSDs have about 5-10 times the reliability of HDDs but tend to fail catastrophically rather then gradually like hdds. The solution is RAID or backup on write ala Dropbox/Onedrive/Owncloud. – davidgo Aug 25 at 20:06
  • @ davidgo What you are talking about is performance/TBW, not reliability. Reliability is about the chance of failure in a give period. The question is to backup KBs of data which doesn't require performance at all. BTW do you have some reference about SD not having wear levelling? – jw_ Aug 26 at 0:42
  • not so - wear levelling directly correlates with reliabilty/longevity. SSD's are also more reliable – davidgo Aug 26 at 5:06

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